SpaceX delivered a large object to Starbase yesterday. At first, this large structure was unidentified but later on, it was recognized as a fuel transfer tube for Starship Raptor engines.
It is not just a simple fuel transfer tube, it is equipped with an anti-vortex device or anti-vortex plates. Since SpaceX Raptor engines use liquid methane as fuel, the transfer process can create cavitation (small liquid-free zones such as bubbles or voids) in the fluid during transfer. Anti-vortex devices prevent the occurrence of cavitation that can create dents and shockwaves in the transfer tube (Source: CorrosionPedia).
Mary (@BocaChicaGal) from NasaSpaceFlight.com spotted the Starship Raptor engine fuel transfer tube during her coverage of SpaceX Starbase at Boca Chica, Texas.
Since the above picture was taken from a bit of distance, Mary posted the following close-up photo of this newly-developed transfer tube designed specifically for loading propellent into Starship Raptor engines. The full video of Starbase coverage from yesterday is also included below.
More Starbase Updates
Starship SN20 (Ship 20 in short) is seen standing tall at Starbase. While talking to a virtual meeting of the Space Studies Board (SSB) back in November 2021, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was optimistic that the first Starship orbital test would happen in January 2022. But his estimation did not materialize.
However, a previous NASA document revealed that the first Starship orbital flight test will happen around March 2022.
SpaceX crew was also seen working on the Super Heavy Booster 4 Quick Disconnect Arm (video below). A prototype nosecone barrel was scrapped. Multiple parts of the Wide Bay were also delivered.
The Starship Launch Tower Chopsticks can be seen between Booster 4 and Starship 20. Let’s watch the coverage video below for the visuals.